Well. was that not a sight for sore eyes? We were bruised and vulnerable after Thursday, and yes, we have to admit that Aberdeen were due a win against Celtic, but our team rose to the occasion and produced the goods just when we needed them.
The pitch was poor, the Aberdeen crowd was actually rather disappointing with quite a few empty seats (yes, yes, I know it is cold in Aberdeen!) but the Celtic crowd was first class, and even though they were heard quite clearly in the second half telling us that they knew the allegiances of Bobby Madden, it would have to be said that Mr Madden actually had a good game, being very fair to both sides. He might have stopped the game a little quicker after Ajer’s injury, though, because it was a head knock.
Aberdeen’s tactics in the first half were strange. Are they afraid of Celtic? Do they really have a complex about us? Well, yes it certainly looked like that. Surely, knowing how edgy Celtic were after Thursday night, this was the time for Aberdeen to attack us, was it not? But that is a question to ask of Mr McInnes.
Let us talk about Celtic. Two very good goals, and the fact that Dembele had a part to play in both goals is the most encouraging of all. Has the corner at least been turned? Can we now look forward to more good performances from the Frenchman? We are certainly needing him to do the business. James Forrest was brilliant in the first goal, and that could not have been a better cross for Moussa to head home.
Our defence coped well in the second half, even with a bad injury to Kristoffer Ajer. Simunovic made a mistake or two, but generally recovered well. Mikael Lustig brought his problems on himself, I’m afraid, and could not complain about the red card. As I seem to remember saying last time, the venerable Mikael, who has served us so well, could do with a rest. Time for Jack Hendry to be given a run.
The midfield did a great deal to recover its damage reputation form midweek. Olivier Ntcham was stronger than of late, and Scott Brown was as always in the thick of things, doing well not to retaliate in the incident where Sam Cosgrave got his red card bringing to an end his brief appearance. Scott Sinclair was off to a good start, but did not maintain it, but still, there seemed to be a slight improvement.
And Rodgers is to be commended for not being panicked into too many rash changes. His two changes were justified, although one fears that Tom Rogic is still not quite fit yet.
So an altogether better outlook today than 24 hours ago. We are now in the latter stages of the season, the weather is improving (yes, yes, I know the BBC is threatening us with six feet of snow this week, but then again they often do!) and we have 13 games left. Our key players should be recovering from injuries soon. Trophies are now beckoning.
They will be ours if we come up to scratch. We are nine points ahead in the League, or in other words we would need to lose three games. That really should not happen, but we must not underestimate Dundee on Wednesday night.
Nor Morton on Saturday either. Let us think about Rangers at Ibrox on 11 March, only AFTER we have disposed of these two seemingly easier home games.
In the meantime, let’s be happy! Thursday night is not yet forgiven, but the edge has been taken off. It might even be a blessing in disguise.
David Potter for The Celtic Star
AND ALSO ENJOY…Johnny Doyle was simply one of us – a bhoy who, like his close friend Tommy Burns, lived the dream…read HERE.